Tag Archives: Barry Bonds

My 2019 IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’31PqUBGfSIVsaeCdbaiE1g’,sig:’FRGiD69OoJCv2tA-ET1qwc1An7rkJDYnIKFRkNVznc4=’,w:’594px’,h:’445px’,items:’1007392298′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Former Phillies star Jim Thome was among those voted into the HOF last year

As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association), I have the honor of being involved in the organization’s annual Hall of Fame voting process. This is my fifth year with a ballot, and my selections were turned in about two weeks ago.

The IBWAA voting process does not earn a player a plaque at Cooperstown. It does, however, allow a group of well-informed voters to express their opinion as to which players are deserving of the ultimate honor for their baseball career. You can consider it a formal endorsement from baseball writers and bloggers who represent dozens of internet sites.
I had decided over the last couple of years to break my ballot down into three segments. “Hall of Fame” players are those who, for me, are obvious, or whom I evaluated from previous years and decided were worthy.

“Future Consideration” names are not so obvious to me, but are strong enough candidates that I will continue to evaluate them moving forward. Finally, “Not Hall of Famer” guys are those who just don’t make the cut for me and will not in the future.

In 2017, eight players received my IBWAA vote: Barry BondsRoger ClemensTrevor HoffmanMike MussinaManny RamirezIvan RodriguezCurt Schilling, and Larry Walker. Both Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, who I had on my “Future Consideration” list that year, were voted in by the full IBWAA membership.
Last year just five returning players received my vote as a “Hall of Fame” player: Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling once again, as well as two newcomers to the ballot: Jim Thome and Chipper Jones.
On my “Future Consideration” list from the 2018 ballot were Hoffman, Mussina, Walker, Ramirez, Scott RolenGary SheffieldBilly WagnerLee SmithJohnny DamonSammy SosaJeff KentFred McGriffOmar VizquelJamie MoyerAndruw Jones, and Johan Santana.
The IBWAA membership honored six players in the final vote a year ago. Bonds and Clemens each finally got in, joined by Thome, CJones, Mussina, and Hoffman.
While the BBWAA only allow their eligible Hall of Fame voters to cast ballots for up to 10 players, the IBWAA has a 15-player limit. I decided after looking over the names to cast a wide ballot this year. Bottom line, I simply felt generous.

MY 2019 IBWAA BALLOT

My list for the 2019 IBWAA ballot was led by Schilling, the only player who has been a definite, no-doubt “Hall of Fame” player for me in both of the last two years but hasn’t made it as yet.
Two newcomers on this year’s ballot were considered by me to be no-doubt “Hall of Fame” players. Both Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay thus received my vote as well.
I had decided early-on to bump up two players from last year’s “Future Consideration” list who were back on the 2019 IBWAA ballot, Walker and Rolen, to receive my vote.
That was originally going to be all for me. And then I got soft. I read a couple of pieces written by respected sources advocating for more players to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and was influenced to send in a full 15-player ballot.
For that reason alone, 10 additional players received my vote this year. These players would have usually found themselves in my “Future Consideration” list: Ramirez, Sheffield, Wagner, Kent, McGriff, and AJones from last year’s ballot. And then newcomers Todd HeltonLance BerkmanRoy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte.
Over the last few days, I have come to regret that expansion of my ballot. If I had it to do over again, just Schilling, Rivera, Halladay, Walker, and Rolen would have received my vote. The rest would have been in the “Future Consideration” category, along with holdovers Sosa and Vizquel and newcomer Miguel Tejada.
A year from now you can expect me to return to my three-tiered system of breaking down the nominees. You can expect that any of my five 2019 no-doubt players doesn’t make it this time around, they will get a vote from me again next year.

Originally published at Phillies Nation asMatt Veasey’s 2019 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

Lenny Dykstra indicted by grand jury and faces possible return to prison

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’CaxfNjB0QfVh9knLf5rD5A’,sig:’yZhNGz5JbbYKqnKVXSRyDtlf6RHb2GIjGTIjUIsgpwA=’,w:’415px’,h:’594px’,items:’80475012′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

In a decision related to actions allegedly taken by former Phillies star outfielder Lenny Dykstra back in May of this year, a New Jersey grand jury handed down indictments on Wednesday.
The Associated Press has reported that third-degree charges for possession of cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as terroristic threats, carry with them potential sentences of up to five years imprisonment.
The now 55-year-old Dykstra became involved in an altercation involving an Uber driver, one in which the former Mets and Phillies outfielder was accused of putting a gun to the driver’s head. That driver, 47-year-old Brian Lutty, had reportedly refused to change the final destination of the trip.
Lutty pulled outside of police headquarters in Linden, New Jersey, about 20 miles outside of New York City, and bolted from the car. Responding officers found no gun but did find drugs in Dykstra’s possession.
Dykstra claimed that Lutty had “kidnapped” him. Christian Red and Larry McShane of the New York Daily News quoted him back in May: “The guy went nuclear on me. He f—ing kidnapped me and almost killed me going 100 mph. He locked me in his f—ing car, and he wouldn’t let me out.”

David Porter of the AP outlined some of Dykstra’s many public troubles since he last played Major League Baseball following the 1996 season:

“Since retiring from baseball, Dykstra has served prison time for bankruptcy fraud, grand theft auto and money laundering, and he declared bankruptcy in 2009, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.”

According to the New York Times, in May of 1991 while driving home late at night after attending a bachelor party for teammate John Kruk, Dykstra wrapped his 1991 Mercedes-Benz around a pair of trees in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Fellow Phillies star Darren Daulton was a passenger in the vehicle.
Both were lucky to escape with their lives. That New York Times report stated: “Dykstra…suffered three broken ribs, a broken right collarbone and a broken right cheekbone. A broken rib punctured a lung and his heart was bruised, according to doctors. Daulton…suffered a broken left eye socket, a scratched left cornea and a heart bruise, doctors said.”
This time around, Dykstra obviously believes that there is more to the case than the public knows at this point. He seems to feel that he will ultimately be vindicated, based on this tweet sent on Thursday morning:
Dykstra, known during his career by the nicknames “The Dude” and “Nails”, had a 12-year career in MLB, the final eight of those with the Phillies.
In 1993, Dykstra was the runner-up in National League Most Valuable Player voting to Barry Bonds. That year, the Phillies center fielder hit for a .305/.420/.482 slash line with 19 homers, 66 RBI and 37 stolen bases.
He led the NL with 194 hits and 129 walks and led all of baseball with 143 runs scored that year as the Phillies captured the National League pennant. He was also a Silver Slugger Award winner in 1993, and a National League All-Star in both 1994 and 1995 with the Phillies.

Over the course of his eight Phillies seasons, Dykstra registered 829 of his career total 1,298 hits. He ranks 9th in on-base percentage, 16th in stolen bases, 24th in walks, 36th in runs scored, 37th in doubles, and 47th in hits on the Phillies all-time leader boards.
Dykstra is scheduled to be arraigned at a future date. Whether the case ultimately goes to trial or his lawyer is able to negotiate a plea deal that somehow saves him from more jail time, it appears that the man who earned more than $36 million dollars during his professional baseball career has not yet overcome his personal demons.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Dude! Former Phillies star Lenny Dykstra indicted for May 2018 incident, faces a possible return to prison

My 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

This past year marked a major change in direction as far as my baseball writing was concerned. For the previous three years, I wrote almost exclusively on the national pastime.

As the Fall of 2017 arrived, I decided to return to writing across the broader spectrum of politics, religion, entertainment, and social issues.

Baseball is always going to hold a special place in my heart and life, especially in regards to my hometown Philadelphia Phillies.

For anyone who has enjoyed my baseball writing in the past, rest easy. I am going to continue writing on the sport here at my website from time to time. You can enjoy those pieces, including all from the past, by clicking on the “Baseball” category from the website toolbar.

As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association), I have the honor of being involved in the organization’s annual Hall of Fame voting process. This was my fourth year with a ballot, and my selections were returned just this past week.
The IBWAA voting process does not earn a player a plaque at Cooperstown. It does, however, allow another block of informed voters to express their opinion as to which players are deserving of that ultimate career honor. You can consider it a formal endorsement from the Internet baseball writers and bloggers.
A year ago for the 2017 IBWAA Hall of Fame voting, I broke down my ballot into three categories: Hall of Famers, Under Future Consideration, and Not Hall of Famer. I am doing the same for this piece on the 2018 ballot, and will continue that process into the future.
There were 31 eligible players on last year’s 2017 ballot. Eight of those players received my vote as a Hall of Famer: Barry BondsRoger ClemensTrevor HoffmanMike MussinaManny RamirezIvan RodriguezCurt Schilling, and Larry Walker.
 
Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, who was on my “Future Consideration” list a year ago, were each voted in by the IBWAA in 2017. Both players received 175 votes (84.54%) to gain the honor of our HOF endorsement. Mussina, Hoffman, Bonds, and Clemens all received more than 70% of the vote, falling just short of the 75% requirement for endorsement.
 
This year, I was more frugal with my own vote, casting a ballot for just five players. In doing so, I left off three players who received my vote a year ago: Walker, Ramirez, and Hoffman. 
 
 
 
Frankly, I don’t really enjoy taking a vote away from these players. It’s not that I no longer feel they are worthy. I made a personal decision this year to “tier” my deserving choices. The five players who did receive my vote are, for me, clearly ahead of those three.
 
A year ago there were 31 players on the ballot. After voting for eight, I listed another seven under consideration, and rated 16 as not deserving. You can see here that the number of players who I will be considering in the future has grown considerably.
 
There are three videos accompanying this piece. I would recommend that you view each of them for more information on the HOF 2018 nominees and process. The middle video on Schilling’s worthiness is particularly revealing. 
 
Here is my breakdown of the 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. You will also absolutely have your own opinions, and I would love to hear them. Among the below nominees who were on the 2018 IBWAA ballot, which would receive your vote to the Baseball Hall of Fame?
 
 
 

2018 HALL OF FAME PLAYERS (5)

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome

FUTURE CONSIDERATION (16)

Trevor Hoffman, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Andruw Jones, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel
 

NOT HALL OF FAMER (11)

Chris Carpenter, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano
 

My 2017 IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

The Internet Baseball Writer’s Association of America (IBWAA) conducts voting in December of each year for its Baseball Hall of Fame.
This process is conducted in much the same manner as the formal BBWAA voting, which results in players being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.
The IBWAA was born on the Fourth of July in 2009. As described at the association website, the organization was formed “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).” 
The BBWAA is made up of writers who have covered the game for “traditional” media. This usually means of the print variety, such as newspapers. 
Meanwhile, coverage of the game has exploded beyond such traditional means over the last two decades.
Baseball coverage has now expanded to purely digital websites and blogs. Due to this expansion, a vibrant and vital new resource is available to all fans of the sport. 
Hence, the IBWAA organizes internet writers, columnists, and bloggers who might otherwise be shut out of the aging print media structure.
The IBWAA was founded and has been managed since its inception by Howard Cole, a writer who primarily covers the Los Angeles Dodgers. 
Cole is now looking to sell the rights to the organization. He can be reached at info@ibwaa.com or @Howard_Cole on Twitter.

IBWAA HALL OF FAME VOTING PROCESS

Each December, the IBWAA conducts its own voting for the Hall of Fame. While this voting process does not get anyone inducted at Cooperstown, it does allow another valuable, educated voice to be heard.
Writers and bloggers on the web often spend just as much time and energy following and writing about the game. Finally, these web writers have been given a voice in the HOF process. As a result, we become part of a collective that serves as an alternative to help honor the greats of the game.
The IBWAA requires that a player receive 75% of the votes from voting members for election to the Hall of Fame. In 2016, the IBWAA selected Ken Griffey Jr with 230 votes. This was a unanimous result. Edgar Martinez received 173 votes (75.22%). As a result, he was also honored.
A few other players were so-called “controversial” nominees on the BBWAA ballot a year ago. Of these, Mike Piazza (2014) had already been elected previously by the IBWAA membership. Likewise, both Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines (both 2015) were already elected.
I am currently a baseball writer for the FanSided organization. This is a respected and growing network of fandom-focused sports, entertainment and lifestyle sites.
Furthermore, I am a lifetime member of the IBWAA. Consequently this will be my third year voting in the IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame process.

2017 IBWAA BALLOT AND MY BREAKDOWN

This year there were 31 players appearing on the IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. Members are permitted to vote for as many as 15 of those nominated. I voted for the full allowance of 15 in each of my first two years as a voter. However, this year I chose to cast a ballot with just eight players on it.
Getting into arguments as to why I voted for this player and not for that player is pointless. Suffice it to say that I have been following this game closely now for over four decades. In this Hall of Fame voting, I have developed my own evaluation process.
I am absolutely certain that many of you would vote differently. As a result, I would love to hear your opinions. Please feel free to share with me in a comment. Maybe you will want to tell me that I’m an idiot. Most of all, I would like you to simply share with me your own vote.
Most noteworthy, the breakdown to follow will show the names of the eight players for whom I voted. Then I will present a list of players who I feel are potentially worthy. I simply feel that my current honorees are more clear-cut. Consequently, I want to evaluate these other players a bit more.
Finally, the last list will show those who had a nice MLB career, but are simply not Hall of Fame worthy.

2017 HALL OF FAME PLAYERS (8)


UNDER FUTURE CONSIDERATION (7)


NOT A HALL OF FAMER IMHO (16)

Barry Bonds Deserves Hall of Fame Enshrinement

A highly controversial former MLB superstar will again be eligible for Baseball Hall of Fame voting this year, and he deserves to be elected and inducted.

There is little doubt that Barry Bonds is one of the most controversial figures in Major League Baseball over the last few decades.
Along with players such as Pete RoseMark McGwireSammy SosaRoger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez, Bonds is a player who would be a slam-dunk Baseball Hall of Famer if only statistics and career achievements were considered.
Bonds is in a category with all of those players other than Rose. Issues with gambling on the sport are keeping the game’s all-time hit king from being enshrined at Cooperstown as a ball player. The issue with Bonds and the others is performance enhancing drugs. Use of PEDs appears to have been chronic throughout the 1990s and into the early part of this century.
The problems for Bonds can almost certainly be traced to the 1998 home run chase in Major League Baseball between McGwire and Sosa. That summer, the pair captured the attention and hearts of fans as they chased the single-season home run record of 61. That record was set by Roger Maris all the way back in 1961.
MLB was still trying to recover from the devastating effects of the strike of 1994.

Most seemed to turn their collective heads away from the obvious physical changes to the bodies of both McGwire and Sosa.

Big Mac would end up setting the new record that season with 70 home runs. Sosa fell just short of him at 66 long balls.
The generally accepted narrative goes something like this: Bonds sees all of the adulation heaped upon McGwire and Sosa, knows he is a better player, believes they are using some type of substance to help their performance, and decides to use it himself.
This is the exact narrative that serves as the basis for the book Game of Shadows by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.
A further book, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Anti-Hero, puts forth that following that 1998 season, Bonds told a dinner crowd at the home of Ken Griffey Jr. that he was going to “start using some hard-core stuff” to increase his power.
What he used exactly, when he used it, and even whether or not he exactly knew what it was that he was taking are all in dispute. There has been conflicting testimony. The worst that Bonds has ever publicly admitted to was ignorance.
But it has all been enough to severely tarnish Bonds, who in March of 2005 stated the following:
“You’re talking about something that wasn’t even illegal at the time. All this stuff about supplements, protein shakes, whatever. Man, it’s not like this is the Olympics. We don’t train four years for, like, a 10-second. We go 162 games. You’ve got to come back day after day after day. … There are far worse things like cocaine, heroin and those types of things.”
Bonds has also never been helped by what was always perceived as an aloof, entitled, sometimes abrasive personality.
All of that said, Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame. It is an easy call for me. The fact is that like Mike Piazza, who was elected a year ago, Bonds has never been convicted of anything.
The fact also remains that if you completely ignore every statistic in Bonds’ career beginning with the 1999 season, he would be a Hall of Famer.

If Barry Bonds had died in a plane crash, or of some disease or illness, or in a boating accident during the offseason between 1998 and 1999, the following would be his legacy.
Over 8,100 plate appearances in 13 seasons he crushed 411 home runs. During that time he produced 1,216 RBI, and had 1,364 runs scored.
Bonds wasn’t only about power; he also stole 445 bases. He was the ONLY 400/400 (homers/steals) player in Major League Baseball history.
By that point he also had a career .290/.411/.556 slash line. He had won three National League Most Valuable Player Awards, eight Gold Glove Awards, seven Silver Sluggers, and was an 8x NL All-Star. Eight Gold Gloves for defensive excellence! And these weren’t honorary due to his offense. Bonds may have been the best left fielder in the history of the game.
In yet another season he was the NL MVP runner-up, and finished in the top five of NL MVP voting in three further seasons. Anyone who watched baseball during the 1990s knows for a fact that Barry Bonds was a wonder, the greatest all-around player of the decade.

I have been watching baseball since 1971, and can say without qualification that Bonds of that era was the greatest player that I have ever seen personally. While what Bonds did at some point after that 1998 season may indeed be tainted (though again, we don’t know when or how much), you cannot simply ignore every single thing he accomplished.
There is no doubt that had Bonds taken no questionable substances, his career would not have ended there at age 33 years.
No, Bonds would not likely have finally satisfied his massive ego by passing McGwire when he set the single-season home run record of 73 in 2001.
No, Bonds would not likely have passed, even approached, Hank Aaron‘s all-time home run record. Bonds now holds that mark with his 762 career homers.
No, Bonds would not have likely won four straight NL MVP awards from ages 36-39. He also added on six more NL All-Star appearances and five more Silver Sluggers after the 1998 season.
But we don’t know any of that for sure either.
What is obvious from any honest evaluation of Barry Bonds’ career is that he was a Baseball Hall of Famer, one of the greatest players of all-time.
In last year’s balloting, the voters ignored rumors of Piazza’s possible PED usage and elected the catcher to the Baseball Hall of Fame. On that same ballot, Bonds received 44.3 percent of the vote, finishing with the sixth highest percentage in his fifth year on that ballot.
In 2015, Bonds received 36.8 percent of the vote. In 2014 it was 34.7 percent, and in 2013 he received 36.2 percent in his first year on the ballot.
In other words, there was a noticeable uptick in voting for Bonds last year. It is time now to stop the sanctimonious punishment of the man, and elect Barry Bonds to the Baseball Hall of Fame.